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<2017 May>

by Maureen A. Taylor

More Links

# Sunday, 12 March 2017
How to Learn About Working Women in Old Family Photos
Posted by Maureen

March is known as Women's History Month. It's a good time to celebrate our female ancestors. Did your ancestral mother's work outside the home either before or after marriage?  Many did. 

Michael Albrecht sent in series of family photos. In the pile were two very interesting images of a tailor shop in Baltimore, Md.  He labeled the images with the name of the tailor: Boleslaw Cwalina.

Before you think "what an uncommon name," try searching for men named Boleslaw in Baltimore. There are a lot of them.

Look closely at this image. The clues are in the fashion plates hung over the head of the clerk.

The fashions in these plates suggest a date of late 1910s to circa 1920. Those large feathers in the women's hats and the narrow skirts are clues.

The second image shows women at work.

It's not very often that you see a picture with an exact date stamped into it's surface.  This one says "Feb. 15, 1935.  Model Coat Makers. Baltimore, Md."

So the women in this photo appear to be making coats for customers to try on.   I'm hoping that Michael knows the story behind these two photos. I'd love to know who's behind the counter in the first one and if any of the women in the second are his relatives working in the family business.

To learn more about the occupations of the women in your family:
  • Look at the category that states a woman's work in a census, then see if the name of the company that employed her appears on the same line.
  • City directories sometimes list unmarried working women separately with the place of employment. Married women are generally mentioned in parentheses next to their husbands.

Do you have an image of a woman in your family at work?  I'd love to see it.

Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

  • 1920s photos | 1930s photos | occupational | women
    Sunday, 12 March 2017 14:57:37 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [3]
    # Sunday, 20 November 2016
    Colorizing Old Photos: A 1923 Thanksgiving Tablescape
    Posted by Maureen

    Our Ancestors' Thanksgiving

    Happy Thanksgiving! This 1920s table is set for a holiday meal. In 1923, the Underwood Co., publisher of stereoviews, sold this image. I'm not sure the intent of the picture, but perhaps it shows a model for our ancestors' idea of the perfect holiday meal.

    You can tell a story with a single picture. What do you see in this image?
    • two chairs
    • two candles
    • two place settings
    • a turkey (or perhaps a large chicken)
    • a cloth table covering
    • a basket cornucopia of fruits and vegetables (the centerpiece)

    Besides the table, this room has a hanging lamp, a couple of pictures on the wall and a combination sideboard/hutch (on the right).

    This picture gives us insight into the holiday festivities for this mythical couple. It's a time capsule of Thanksgiving in 1923.

    This particular image tells us that only two people were at dinner and that the turkey/chicken was the main part of the meal.

    Have you ever taken a picture of your holiday table before everyone sits down? I have. It helps me remember what we had for dinner that year, how I decorated the table (now called a "tablescape" on the decorating shows), how many people came, and who brought what dish.

    Colorize Old Pictures for a Look at Your Ancestor's World

    It's easy to imagine our ancestors' world as black and white, but of course they were surrounded by color. Algorithmia is a free site that helps you colorize black-and-white pictures to bring them closer to a real-life view.

    It's easy to use. Upload a picture to the site and see a comparison of the image in black and white, and color. You can move the purple line to see where the tinting happens. In this case, the stark-looking setting becomes a warm dining room. 

    Here's the colored image. Notice that not all of the items on the table were colorized. This isn't a professionally Photoshopped colorization with historically accurate shades, but it does enable you to quickly take a different look at your pictures.

    You can download the comparison and the final colorized image, albeit with the site's watermark.


    This Thanksgiving, take a break from the after-dinner clean-up and see  how this site transforms your old family photos. The dishes can wait.

    See others' colorized photos and share your favorite colorized photo with us on the Family Tree Magazine Facebook page. We'd love to see them!

    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

  • SaveSave
    1920s photos | facebook | Photo fun | thanksgiving
    Sunday, 20 November 2016 16:59:49 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Sunday, 18 September 2016
    Wavy Hair in Your Family Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    Last week, I wrote about how "radium perms" gave our ancestors' hair smooth curls. Two readers sent me pictures of their female ancestors with wavy hair. Whether permed or created with a curling iron, these female ancestors ended up with lovely 'dos.

    Sharon Haskin Galitz sent in a 1928 graduation picture of her mother.

    Laura Powell's grandmother Ruth Myers posed for this picture around 1930, about age 16.

    I've written about clues in curls before. See if you can use the pictures in this post and those linked below for comparison with your family photos.  Can you spot the details?
    • Clues in Curls: Some women wore long curls in their youth. This woman's hair steals the attention in this picture.
    • Four Times the Mystery: A set of four photo booth images act as a timeline of one woman's life. Her hair is part of the solution.

    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

  • 1870s photos | 1920s photos | 1930s photos | hairstyles
    Sunday, 18 September 2016 18:06:41 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 11 September 2016
    Toxic Hairstyles in Old Family Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    What's the weirdest thing you've ever done to your hair? 

    Bad hair happens to everyone unless your hair is too short to go astray. You know what I'm talking about.

    Generations of women (and men) have spent money on preparations to make their hair conform to the latest style. But some of those lotions and shampoos made problems worse: They could burn the scalp and make people lose their locks.

    There was another trend that actually made people sick! Look closely at your 20th-century snapshots for evidence of a permanent wave. 

    The combination of heat and chemicals made hair behave. Permanent waved hair was very popular in the 1920s, but the process dates back to the 1870s. You can learn more about the history of the "perm" on Wikipedia.  

    Here's another woman with a similar 'do from the 1920s.


    It's a lovely 1923 portrait from my collection of research images.  

    So how did these women attain their gorgeous curled looks?

    Radium—the radioactive, cancer-causing substance associated with Marie Curie. Supposedly it also gave you hair that others would envy.

    The full advertisement for the product advertised with this image, copyrighted in 1924 by H.W. Cherry, actually mentions the word "radium."  You could get a permanent for $5.

    There are no statistics on how many women used this process or how many became ill because of it. Do you have a picture of an ancestor with a permanent wave?  I'd love to see it.

    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

  • 1920s photos | hairstyles | women
    Sunday, 11 September 2016 21:48:37 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 31 July 2016
    4 Tips to Identify Faces in Old Group Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    Joseph Martin has a great photo, a big group portrait. You guessed the problem: figuring out who's who. He knows the identity of three of these individuals, but the rest he's not sure about.

    Here are four tips you can apply to group portraits in your family collection.

    1. Estimate time and place.
    Once you know these things, you can figure out who in your family was around at the time.

    The place in this case isn't a problem. The group posed in front of the Belle Isle Conservatory. The Conservatory is part of Belle Island Park, a popular 982-acre island park in the middle of the Detroit River, Mich.

    Photo courtesy of Wikipedia

    Joseph thinks they posed about 1930. The cloche hats and dropped waist dresses look more like the late 1920s, but then again, not everyone wore the latest styles the moment the new looks were in the stores.

    2. Match faces.

    Joseph knows the woman in the black hat is Marcyanna Skibinski Kaptur and the man behind her is her husband, Nicholas Kaptur.

    To their left in a light-colored hat is their daughter Emily Kaptur.

    But who are the rest of the folks?  By looking at facial features, he thinks they could be a mix of Skibinski and Kaptur relatives, but isn't sure.

    So who's in Detroit in this time period and what's are their age? Those details can solve this mystery.

    3. Make a chart!

    When faced with a problem like this, create a chart and a collage of faces to make studying single faces easier.

    Identify those who could be possibly be in this picture and using a word processing table or Excel, create a chart of how old they would be in 1930. For example: Person's name, birth year, age in 1930. 

    Next, use a free photo editor like create a collage. Digitally crop each of the faces out of the picture using the adjustment feature, and put them in separate boxes in the collage. You also can use this technique to do a side-by-side comparison of faces you think look alike as well.

    Now armed with the table, the collage and the big picture, study the faces.
    Who are relatives of the husband or wife and who's an in-law?

    Start with the youngest and oldest individuals. Look at the group portrait to see if there are husbands and wives as well as clusters of their children. Family members tend to stand together in household groupings. 

    Doing this will accomplish two things: First, you'll be able to narrow the time frame for the picture based on the ages of the children and the others. It might be 1927 or 1930, for instance, and the children will help you pinpoint when. There are several children in the 4-7 age bracket. Identify them first. Their parents are probably in the picture.

    4. Look for other pictures.
    Joseph didn't say if this is the only picture of the Kapur/Skibinskis in his collection. If he has others, those pictures give more chances to match faces to the group portrait. If he doesn't, it's time to try to find other pictures of the people in this scene. Searching genealogy databases for photos is one avenue. Many people attach photographs to their online trees.

    Group portraits take time to solve. Go slow. Consider all the possibilities. Put the puzzle down for a bit and then go back to the problem. You might see something you missed the first time around.

    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

  • 1920s photos | 1930s photos | facial resemblances | group photos | hats | summer
    Sunday, 31 July 2016 21:50:32 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 04 January 2016
    The King Family: Sorting Through The Clues in Three Old Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    Photographs can provide proof of close family relationships among cousins now long forgotten. Sorting through the clues in one family's collection and digging deeper into genealogical research sources solves one picture mystery for genealogist Mary Roddy. She knows a lot about her family history but one mystery picture had hoping it was her great grandfather.

    Mary's great grandmother Mary Jane Fields (born 1854) along with her parents sailed around Cape Horn at the tip of South America in the late nineteenth century to eventually settle in Amador, California.  In 1875 she was maid of honor at her first cousin, Alice Devlin's marriage to Nicholas King there. Unfortunately, there are no known images of the wedding.

    The discovery of gold in Juneau, Alaska in 1880, attracted people to the fast growing community of Douglas, Alaska including the King family who moved there in 1888.  Despite the distance between Amador and Douglas, this picture is proof that Mary Jane and Alice stayed in touch. 

    This photo of Nick and Alice King taken for their 50th anniversary was in Mary Roddy's collection and in the collection of a direct descendant of the couple.

    With family in both Alaska and California, two other pictures in Mary's collection posed a mystery.

    Alice taken circa 1900.
    The dress bodice and sleeves suggest that date. But this photo generates a lot of questions:
    • What is Alice doing in California?
    • Could she be visiting relatives? 
    • Is there proof of that trip?
    • If this photo is Alice could the unknown photo (below) in Mary's collection be her great grandmother Mary Jane Fields?

    This photo was also taken circa 1900.

    The big problem with this picture depicting Mary Jane Fields is that by 1900, she'd be 46 years of age.  The woman in this picture is likely only in her late teens or early twenties.

    So who could it be?  Next week's clue solves the mystery.

    1900-1910 photos | 1920s photos
    Monday, 04 January 2016 15:10:02 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 16 November 2015
    Twentieth-Century Mustache Mania
    Posted by Maureen

    From the White House to Hollywood, mustaches of the 20th century were iconic and considered manly. The underlying message was that strong men wore facial hair. Teddy Roosevelt to Clark Gable and beyond, the presence of a mustache conveyed a sense of strength in personality and actions. Each of these men were facial hair fashion icons for their generation.

    Teddy Roosevelt
    One can only imagine the shock on Vice President Teddy Roosevelt's face when a photographer in 1901 suggested he shave off his mustache before being inducted in office. As President from Sept. 14, 1901 (after McKinley's assassination), to March 1909, his iconic facial hair set the tone for his time in office. He was a forceful personality in life and in politics.

    Library of Congress

    This poster is a collage of images of T.R. from childhood to the Presidency—from the long sideburns of his years at Harvard to the brush- style mustache that became equated with being manly.

    Charlie Chaplin
    Charlie Chaplin used his small under-the-nose mustache as a comedic element in silent films.

    The Tramp
    , 1914

    This style of facial hair is still known as a "Charlie Chaplin."

    Errol Flynn
    Errol Flynn's portrayal of dashing adventurers of the 1930s and 1940s wasn't complete without his iconic pencil-thin mustache. The look is named for him.

    It took careful shaving underneath the nose and at the top of the lip to get this tiny mustache just right. 

    Clark Gable
    Clark Gable's notable performance as Rhett Butler in Gone With The Wind is memorable and so was his facial hair.

    Clark Gable with the 8th Air Force in Britain, 1943

    Like Errol Flynn, his mustache was an integral part of the characters he played in the movies.

    So which mustache did the men in your family emulate? The full brush mustache of T.R., the "Charlie Chaplin," the "Errol Flynn," or the look popularized by Clark Gable?

    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

  • 1900-1910 photos | 1910s photos | 1920s photos | 1930s photos | 1940s photos | World War I
    Monday, 16 November 2015 17:23:03 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 13 September 2015
    What Does It Take to Solve a Mystery?
    Posted by Maureen

    Bet you're thinking this is a good question. Solving an old photo mystery relies on different things. It all depends on the picture but there are certain family facts that help.

    Denise Valentine submitted this 20th-century picture.  She's unsure who's in the picture but she has some ideas.

    I love the expression on this woman's face. Her pose with hand on top of the column and her straight forward gaze suggests she's got a strong personality.

    This young couple could be Denise's grandparents but she doesn't know for sure and no one in the family does either.  Her mother was born in 1930. Could they be her parents?  Denise's mother gave her the photo with no information. It's incredible to consider, but photo identifications can disappear within a generation.

    The clothing immediately told me that this was a 20th century image. The young woman's calf-length dress and cropped hair are two clues. Skirts got shorter after 1910. The 1920 passage of the 19th amendment, giving women the vote, encouraged women to cut their long locks. This hairstyle was all the rage in Hollywood too.


    She wears a t-strap shoe with an ankle wrap. He wears highly polished two tone high top short boots. Her shoes were fashionable in the mid to late 1920s. Two tone shoes for men were also common in the period.

    Dresses with soft ruffled collars and drop earrings like the ones she's wearing also date from the 1920s. There were many styles and types of ties available for men throughout the early 20th century. In this case his collars lacks long points and his bow tie is small.

    It looks like she has a corsage pinned to her dress.

    Sunday best attire, shiny shoes and a corsage combined with their young age suggests a significant event, such as a wedding.

    A good possibility, but here's where the answer to the question in the title comes in. What do you need to solve a picture mystery?  In addition to pictorial evidence like clothing and photographic method, you need family data.

    In this instance, a marriage license could help identify the picture. And vice versa. This picture suggests that a wedding took place in the late 1920s.

    Denise's mother Lillian was born in 1930. She had one older brother named after his father Walter.  Their mother was Mabel.  I'm not using their last names because their births are within 100 years (a time period usually assigned for privacy purposes).

    The family lived in Coffeyville, Montgomery County, Kan. I've done a lot of digging and discovered that a lot of people in that area had the same last name. I may have found the right couple with their two children in the 1930 census.  At the time the couple was in their 20s—they could be the man and woman in this picture.

    The next steps are to rule out other possibilities and to find other pictures of the couple at a later date.  

    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

  • 1920s photos | wedding | women
    Sunday, 13 September 2015 16:52:53 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 01 June 2015
    Head-to-Toe 1920s Wedding Fashion
    Posted by Maureen

    June is a popular month for weddings, so Diane Smith's submission of a mystery photo is a perfect way to start off the summer bridal season.

    Her maternal great-grandmother owned this picture. Could this be a picture of Diane's great-grandfather's parents, who married in Poland in 1876?

    Diane's in for a surprise! This image dates from the 1920s, not the 1870s.  It's a head-to-toe wedding portrait. Here's how the clues stack up:

    The young man's hairstyle was called a "boyish pomadour" by the Tonsorial Artist magazine (tonsorial meaning "of or related to a barber or barbering") in 1924. It would be easy to jump to conclusions based on a single clue, but it's important to add up all the facts first.

    Short hair was very fashionable for young women in the 1920s. The bride wears a variation of the wavy shingle, or short hair with waves. Those waves could be created by a permanent wave treatment or using a curling iron to "marcel" it. A few weeks ago I wrote about wavy hair in old photos and showed a picture of an 1870s Marcel wave, named after a hairdresser.

    In the 1920s, bridal bouquets featured long trailing ribbons, like the one shown here.

    Shoes are rarely visible in 19th century images, but are a prominent photo- dating clue in the 20th century. There were three basic shoe styles for women in the 1920s:
    • pumps
    • t-straps
    • ankle straps
    In the early 1920s, heels were thicker, but by the later part of decade thinner heals were common. This woman's shoes feature a cuban or spike heel. To view more examples of shoes from the 1920s, click here.

    Let's take another look at the picture and their wedding outfits.

    The bride wears an ankle-length satin dress with a bias cut and full sleeves. The groom's suit likely features a two-button front. He's wearing a formal shirt and a light-colored (perhaps white) bow tie.

    While his haircut came into fashion in the early 1920s, it likely remained popular for several years. Their wedding outfits, especially her shoes and sleeves, date from the late 1920s, probably between 1927 and 1929.

    To determine who's in this picture, Diane needs to re-check her family history for any weddings in that period. Because the picture was owned by her maternal great grandmother, the bride or groom probably has a connection to her. 

    There is one more clue in the picture: The groom has light-colored eyes, which might help in finding him in other, already-identified images.

    Identify your old mystery family photos with these guides by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Photo-Organizing Practices
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Searching for Family History Photos: How to Get Them Now

  • 1920s photos | men | wedding | women
    Monday, 01 June 2015 16:57:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Sunday, 09 November 2014
    Religious Clues in Old Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    A single photo tells a story of a person, place or event, but an album often tells the tale of an entire family. Katy Krause inherited a photo album. It all started with single question.

    Katy asked her father-in-law about his family history and said, "I wish I had a picture." That statement triggered his memory, and he brought her an album full of pictures. They appear to be of his grandmother Stella's family. He was able to identify his own father, his uncles and his aunt Irene. Katy thinks that Irene put the album together.

    The album includes several photos of Stella. Here are two:

    Stella, her mother and an unidentified woman, 1916.

    Stella and her children, 1922.

    Then there's this mystery image:

    Is this Stella in front? It's a First Communion photo. The little girl's dress and the white arm bows worn by the boys identify the occasion. The oldest boy holds a small bible and rosary beads.  The cross hangs down.

    The back is a postcard format. The stamp box identifies the symbol for Cyko (a producer of photo paper). 

    According to Playle, this particular design dates from 1907 into the 1920s.  You can use this site to match up the stamp boxes on your photo postcard images, too.

    So who's in the mystery photo? Is it Stella or Irene with two brothers? The children in that family were born as follows: Stella (1900), Jane (1902), Theodore (1906), Irene (1908) and Henry (1919). 

    Those knicker-style pants for boys were in style from the WWI era through the 1920s. The WWI-era styles featured a belted coat. These suits don't have that feature.

    If Stella made her First Communion at age 7, then this isn't her. The dress style is wrong for the first decade of the 20th century. But if that's Irene making her First Communion in our mystery photo, then the ages of the boys are wrong to be her brothers.

    Those children also could be other relatives—or Stella's offspring. In the photo shown above, she had a girl and two boys of the same age range as the children in the mystery picture. The mystery children bear a resemblance to the tots in the picture with their mother. I think they're Stella's children.

    A photo like this is a genealogical document. It's picture proof of a family event. I wonder if there is a church record that supports the evidence in the picture? A record of the children's First Communion could support the tentative identification.

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1920s photos | children | First Communion
    Sunday, 09 November 2014 19:15:29 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Tuesday, 02 September 2014
    North of the Border Old-Photo Mystery
    Posted by Diane

    Jane Smith owns this lovely photo of a young girl  and an older man. She hopes it depicts her great-grandfather Patrick Hughes, born in 1836 in County Down, Ireland. He died in 1899 in Toronto, Canada, after a successful career as a merchant.

    The picture was found in a box of other photographs of the same family. The box also includes an earlier image of Patrick and a photograph of his house. Location and provenance (history of ownership) are just two of the clues that help identify photos.

    In this case, the girl's clothing is significant. Here's how the head-to-toe clues add up.

    Broad-brimmed hats and spread collars appear in the World War I period, but not at the turn of the century, during Patrick Hughes' lifetime. Around 1910, hat brims drooped down over the forehead. They remained fashionable until the early 1920s. 

    Another big detail in the girl's dress is the dropped waist. That particular detail didn't become fashionable until circa 1912, and it lasted until the early 1920s—a likely time frame for this photo. Waistlines dropped to the hips in the 1920s. I'm leaning toward a more-specific date of the late 1910s for this picture. 

    A possible identity for the girl will help narrow the time frame even further.

    Knee socks were common in warmer weather, usually paired with short boots or even flat shoes. In this photo, the tops of the girl's boots would be visible if she were wearing them.

    Unfortunately, this date means the man isn't Jane's great-grandfather.  Now she has two mysteries to solve instead of one. 


    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1910s photos | 1920s photos | children | hats | men
    Tuesday, 02 September 2014 23:33:00 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 07 April 2014
    Next Steps After Solving a Photo Mystery
    Posted by Maureen

    What do you do after solving an old-photo mystery? I'm hoping you label the picture on the back using a soft graphite pencil. I'm also hoping you let that photograph take you to a new level of genealogy research.

    While the group portrait featured in last week's blog didn't end up being Yvette LaGonterie's relatives, she used the identification of the Reverend Miller's family to circle back to her own family research.


    She used Google to locate information on the house her ancestors lived in at 86 Vanderbilt Ave., Brooklyn. It's a fun research twist to use real estate sites to learn more about the places your ancestors lived. The house was new when Anna and Edward Powers raised their family. Today it's worth nearly $1.5 million.

    Real estate sites can provide:
    • current value of an ancestral home
    • the date of construction
    • photographs of the building

    Once I have an address for an ancestor, I often use sites like Zillow  and Google Maps to locate places where my family lived.


    Yvette also sent along a photograph of her grandmother, posed to show off her oversize coat, taken in 1921. It's a great fashion photo.

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1920s photos | african american | house/building photos | women
    Monday, 07 April 2014 15:19:34 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Sunday, 09 March 2014
    Stories in the Family Album
    Posted by Maureen

    Three Women  Man on Fallen Treeedit.jpg

    Way back in grade school, I learned that the building blocks of a good story are who, what, where, when and how. Those elements plus a little family history lore add up to tell a tale.

    In the case of this photo, here's how it breaks down:

    Who: There are lot of "might"s in Jane Bonny's email but here's who she thinks might be in the photo. The woman on the far left might be her grandmother Grace Wickline (born 1891).
    crop1Three Women  Man on Fallen Tree.jpg

    According to Jane, the woman on the far right bears a bit of a resemblance to Grace's sister Bella, but Bella never lived near her sister.

    The woman in the center could be Grace's mother-in-law, Henrietta Gardner, but it all depends on the date of the photo. Grace married in 1923.

    Where: From 1910 to about 1923, Grace lived in Hidalgo County, Texas. She met her future husband, Francis Cooper Anderson, there. 

    Hidalgo County was a base for the US Army beginning in 1916, when American soldiers invaded Mexico in search of Pancho Villa. You can read more about it here.

    What: Exactly what's happening here is a bit of a mystery. It looks like a group on an outing.  Who's behind the camera is unknown.  It's important to think about who took a snapshot, because there's a relationship of some sort between that individual and the folks in a candid image.

    When: Now we are at the key piece of evidence. A date or time frame can help to confirm or refute an identification.

    On the woman who might be Grace, the deep crowned hat with a small brim is interesting. There were hats like this in the late 1910s and in the early 1920s, but hats in the late teens had brims that tilted down, not up like in the 1920s. 

    Bangs start to become fashionable again circa 1920 and if women didn't crop their hair they found ways to pin it up to look shorter. That's what this woman has done.

     crop3Three Women  Man on Fallen Tree.jpg

    These clues plus the dress styles suggest this photo was taken circa 1920. So Grace would be 29 in this photo.

    crop 2Three Women  Man on Fallen Tree.jpg

    Jane doesn't recognize the young man on the far left. He doesn't resemble Grace's husband, Francis.

    There is a great family history nugget relating to Grace. She told her family that she had a boyfriend in the Army, but that she didn't continue seeing him because she judged him to be without character.

    This man is not wearing a military uniform, but Jane wonders if this could be the boyfriend. Could they be holding hands? It's unclear. 

    The how in this photo involves trying to figure out his identity. First I'd compare his photo to other images of Francis. Perhaps he's related to the woman on the far right. 

    If he's not Francis, then who are the other two women?  Perhaps other relatives came to visit Grace in Texas. Posting this image online and in social media might help.

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1910s photos | 1920s photos | men | Military photos
    Sunday, 09 March 2014 22:48:27 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Sunday, 26 January 2014
    Who's Who in a Photo? Strategies for Finding Out
    Posted by Diane

    Last week I discussed Karen Perry's unidentified photo

    Today I called her to chat about what she's learned about it since she submitted the image last summer.

    She told me showed it to a distant relative, who said he recognized the man in the center but couldn't remember his name.


    Since this relative descends from her paternal grandmother's side of the family, Karen thought maybe these folks were McClures who lived in northwestern Ohio.  

    Karen decided to take the picture to her class reunion. The Grover Hill school has a reunion where graduates from all classes gather in one place.  Unfortunately, no one recognized anyone in the picture.

    She then tried to upload the photos to an Allen County, Ohio, genealogy page, but doesn't remember which one. The Allen County Genealogy group has a Facebook page that she could join. That's a good next step. She'd then be able to post the photo.

    Members of her Stout, McClure, Parker and Stratton families lived all over northwestern Ohio in Allen, Van Wert, Paulding and Hancock counties. The Ohio Genealogical Society is an active group with an annual conference and chapter meetings. Karen could reach out to chapters in those areas and see if they could show the photo at meetings. 

    While connecting with someone locally could be helpful in her quest to identify these folks, she could also try posting it on sites such as and In the description, she can list all the possible surnames and locations.

    Her mother identified all the other family pictures except this one. Why didn't she recognize any of these people? That's a big part of this puzzle. Since this photo dates from circa 1920 and there are likely individuals in their 20s in this picture, several of them could have lived long enough for Karen to meet them as a child.

    • Were they distant cousins who didn't remain in contact with Karen's family?
    • Did they live further away and thus weren't part of the larger family circle for gatherings? 

    Karen says the man in the middle looks familiar but can't think why he does. It's possible he resembles someone else in the family. She wants to figure out who they are and wished she'd asked her mother more about family history. Her sentiment is a common one.  

    Of course, there is no guarantee that these individuals are family. Our ancestors often sent photos of themselves to friends. Until this mystery is solved, she won't know if they are relatives or acquaintances. 

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1920s photos | Genealogy events | group photos
    Sunday, 26 January 2014 18:40:08 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 19 January 2014
    Figuring Out Who's Family in Old Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    Do you own one of those photos that nags you with unanswered questions?  Karen Perry does. 

    Perry unidentified1.jpg

    Unlike the rest of the photos in her collection, this lovely family group is completely unidentified. She's asked relatives, but no one knows who they are.

    Mom and Dad are in the center surrounded by their children. Two sons flank their parents with the other son stands center back.  Of course there could be in-laws in the photo, too. 

    Karen wrote that her "close-in" relatives lived in Ohio. More distant relatives lived in Virginia, Kentucky, Michigan, New Jersey, Pennsylvania and Maryland. The problem with photo collections is that they're often a combination of family, friends and neighbors. These individuals might not be direct relatives.

    She thinks the older man looks very familiar and thought he might be one of her famous relatives. They have links to two presidential families, the Harrisons and the McKinleys. She's looked online for pictures of the famous folk, but didn't see any obvious connections.

    Thankfully, Karen supplied full contact information with her submission so I'm calling her this week to see if there are any other clues in the family photo collection that would help with this identification. <smile>

    Right now, I can estimate when the image was taken based on their attire. The round eyeglasses of the man on the left, the loose-fitting dresses of the women and those short hairstyles pinpoint this to circa 1920. 


    Here's a fun Flickr page for you with images of people wearing eyeglasses. Click an image for more information about the photo and the glasses.

    I'm hopeful that Karen will have some other details to share.  Once I've spoken with her I'll share some additional tips on how to share this photo.

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1920s photos | group photos | men | women | eyeglasses
    Sunday, 19 January 2014 15:21:44 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Sunday, 05 January 2014
    Downton Abbey and Your Snapshots
    Posted by Maureen

    downton series 4.jpg

    It's finally here! If you're like me you couldn't wait for the premiere of season 4 of "Downton Abbey."  My husband and I are avid fans of Crawley household happenings.  Last year I wrote about "Downton Abbey" and your family photos.

    Here's another installment of Downton fashions. Season 4 is set in 1922. It's the Jazz Age. When you tune in, watch for clothing trends, then take your family snapshots and see how they compare.

    Political and social changes affected fashion in the 1920s. American Prohibition and the passage of the 19th amendment giving women the right to vote influenced what men and women wore. For instance, women shortened their skirts and wore more makeup.

    Americans first listened to commercial radio broadcasts in 1922. Will the folks in the Crawley family follow suit?  Movie stars emerged and going to the pictures was a popular pastime. We'll have to watch and see if the scripts include mention of these innovations.

    There are likely to be a few subtle difference between photos taken in the United States and England. In general the women of 1922 wore the following:
    • dresses with dropped waistlines
    • clothing with a narrower silhouette
    • longer hemlines

    Throughout the 1920s, hemlines and waistlines go down and up. You can find a good overview of average fashion for men, women and children by reading the Sears catalog (digitized on  This illustration is from the Spring 1922 catalog.


    • Gingham was popular for everyday wear
    • Middy blouses were fashionable for young women
    • Galoshes worn with the tops unbuckled gave rise to the term "flapper" due to the sound they made when walking.
    • Men wore striped shirts with white collars.

    I don't expect major changes in the way Violet dresses in the 1920s. There's no way she's going to change her conservative ways. It's up to the younger women in the Crawley household (and Cora's American mother) to wear contemporary fashions.

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1920s photos | Downton Abbey | Sears Catalog
    Sunday, 05 January 2014 15:13:37 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Monday, 04 November 2013
    Women at Work: Switchboard Operators
    Posted by Maureen

    Somewhere in these two pictures is Carilyn Bernd's maternal grandmother, Delma Ragan. Delma was born in 1902. She married Leo Ragan in 1922 and gave birth to twins in 1924.  Just three years later, she died at age 25. At some point, Delma was a telephone switchboard operator in Cherryvale, Kan.

    Bernd work001.jpg

    Each cable in this photo connects to a telephone line. These four operators were required to be polite and discrete. The older woman supervises their demeanor. The two young women at the desk on the left appear to be operating a telegraph machine. The clock on the wall tells us that the photographer captured them at work at 11:05 a.m. 

    Bernd work002.jpg

    Here, the women are in a break room reading, socializing and smiling for the camera.

    So which one is Delma?  There are several young women that could be her. If the family has another picture of her, they can compare the two and identify her.

    The early 1920s were a time of transition for fashion. The dropped waists of the Flappers were just beginning to make an appearance.  Short hair was becoming fashionable.

    On the far right sits a young woman in a Middy Blouse. Sears Catalogs sold the sailor-collared shirt. The fabric choice determined the price. Jean fabric middies sold for less than a dollar; those made from wool flannel sold for approximately $4.

    I'm hoping that Delma posed for a least one other picture before she died.

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1920s photos | occupational | women
    Monday, 04 November 2013 16:35:20 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [4]
    # Sunday, 09 June 2013
    Four Times the Mystery
    Posted by Maureen

    There is so much to love in this photo collage--the smiling face, the cute baby, and the timeless shot of a mother and child. The problem is that Michael Thompson has no idea who she is.
    Thompson editUnknown002.jpg

    Each image is tiny, only about an inch in size. They were all glued to a single square photo mount. It's definitely a photo collage. So who is she?

    He's not sure, but instead of letting this image gather dust in a box of other unidentified photos, he's created a family website using Joomla. He's added a plug-in called Joaktree that takes a GEDCOM file and extracts it.  The end result...well take a look at Thompson's site and see what you think. I thought it was pretty neat.  

    There are ways to determine her identity.
    • First date the picture.  Her hairstyle is twentieth century.  It's known as the Wavy Shingle.  It was popular with women who had a permanent wave put in their hair or those who curled it in the Marcel style. Those waves are a key identifier of a Marcel wave. This hairstyle was particularly popular circa 1929. The top two pictures depict her in short wavy hair. In the bottom left image, she's let her hair grow out and it's smooth rather than wavy.  That adorable baby would specifically date this picture.
    • Determine ownership. Who owned this picture? His grand-uncle owns this picture but he can't remember who's in the picture.  It could be a friend of the family and not a relative.
    • Make a few assumptions.
      • Suppose this young woman was about twenty years of age in 1929? Then she would be born circa 1909.
      • Suppose the baby was born circa 1930?

    Take these two assumptions and test them by fitting that information into the birth date of the grand uncle. He may have known her as an older woman or his parent's knew her. 

    Showing the grand-uncle a list of all family members born circa 1930 might trigger his memory.

    I'll be looking at the unknown images on Thompson's website to see if there are any matches.  Another identified picture of her might exist in his family collection. A positive ID could result from comparing her round face and smile to other images.

    The final ID will come from testing the facts and comparing pictures.

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1920s photos | 1930s photos | children | hairstyles | women
    Sunday, 09 June 2013 15:49:30 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Monday, 01 April 2013
    Mind-Bending Photo Mystery
    Posted by Maureen


    Isn't this a nice picture?  It seems so innocuous. Yet this picture is BIG photo mystery that has a couple puzzled: I met Pam and Art Crawford at last month's RootsTech conference. Using my iPad as a voice recorder, I interviewed them about this picture. You can listen to the recording here.

    Pam's grandmother gave her the image in 1975, in the family photo album. She was told it was Grandma and Grandpa Jones. Pam's grandmother was alive at the same time as the couple depicted, so she would have known them.

    Thomas Jefferson Jones was born Nov. 8, 1843, in Christy Twp., Laurence Co., Ill. He married Mary Jane Williams in Lawrence Co. in 1865. Mary Jane was born May 4, 1850, in Covington, Kenton Co., Ky., and moved to Lawrence Co., Illinois as a child.

    Thomas died March 1, 1934, and Mary Jane died Dec. 24, 1916. Both died in Bonpas Twp., Richland Co., Ill.

    Here's the mystery:
    A few months ago, Art's cousin started a Facebook group, "Descendants of David Crawford." Art joined the group and saw this photo, identified as Nathaniel Alpheus Crawford. When he showed it to Pam, she said, "I know that photo!"

    Nathaniel Crawford was born Oct. 21, 1861, in Summerville, Chattooga Co., Ga. He married Lois Viola Henley in 1891. She was born May 27, 1871, in Georgia. They both died in Chattooga Co., Nathaniel on Sept. 13, 1937, and Lois on Aug. 4, 1956.

    Obviously there are multiple mysteries:
    • Who's really in the photo?
    • How did it end up in both families?
    • Is there a relationship between Pam and Art's family?

    It's a real stumper. Let's start with the picture: It's a 20th-century photo—after World War I, based the design of the woman's collar.

    I'm off to the library to figure out the rest of the clues and double-check a few things. I'll be back next week with more details.

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Family Photo Detective: Learn How to Find Genealogy Clues in Old Photos and Solve Family Photo Mysteries
  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1910s photos | 1920s photos | men | women
    Monday, 01 April 2013 15:47:30 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 07 January 2013
    "Downton Abbey" and Family Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    I can't resist the pull of a period piece be it a television series or a movie, so it's no surprise that last night I sat down to watch the first episode of Season 3 of PBS' "Downton Abbey." There were a lot of moments relevant to both family history and photography.

    The 1920s were a time of transition. Women's hairstyles changed and dresses became less form-fitting. Compare the styles worn by the Dowager Countess of Grantham and the attire of the American Martha Levinson for instance. You can view their attire on the PBS Character Hub.

    The Dowager Countess is conservative and clings to tradition. Her dress and hair support that; she wears dresses from the early 20th century and her hair pulled back. The hourglass figure is the shape attained with corsets and fitted dresses. 

    Martha Levinson is all about being modern. She dresses like a contemporary woman of 1920 with her waved colored hair and shorter, loose dresses. The opening sequence of her appearance says it all. She steps out to greet the staff in a wide-collared brocade coat and a rakish hat with a plume.

    If these women were members of your family and you had a photo of them taken individually against a simple background, then dating the photo based on the Countess' clothing could be misleading. Her appearance suggests a date earlier than 1920.

    Both women's fashion choices also reveal their personalities. I'll be watching to see if the Dowager Countess changes her style as the series progresses or if she remains tied to her long dresses.

    Personally, I love checking out their hats—wide-brimmed summer hats for the wedding of Matthew and Mary, as well as the everyday ones worn by staff and family. You can learn more about women's hats in Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900. I've included several English photos of women "in the service." It's a reference to their occupation of working for families.

    Photo identification and dating an image relies on information. What a person wears is helpful, but not the whole story. Pictorial context is important--where was it taken, who took the image and what else is visible. Adding up the clues can solve the mystery, date the image and identify the person.

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1900-1910 photos | 1920s photos | hairstyles | hats
    Monday, 07 January 2013 16:21:56 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 31 December 2012
    Twelve Months of the Photo Detective
    Posted by Maureen

    It's time to look back at the year. Every week I write a Photo Detective blog post—that's 52 columns in 12 months. It's a lot of free photographic advice and tips. Here are my month-by-month 2012 favorites.

    Last New Year's I offered advice on sharing images online, tackled a photo mystery about the identity of the mother in a picture, and discussed a Scottish picture.

    I got into the planning for my trip to WDYTYA Live in London by comparing British and American fashion. 

    Hat's off to spring! Last March I featured toppers for men, graduation caps, and talked about the relationships between hairstyles and hat design. If you want to learn more about hats or hair, my books, Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900 and Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900, will help.

    The whole month of April focused on identifying photographs of children. Study the clues to add names to those pictures of tykes.

    A trip to the National Genealogical Society inspired a series of columns on the Jeffers Family photo.

    You can view the entries in the Family Tree Magazine photo contest, study a photo of ancestral blue jeans or be awed by the images of wheat threshing.

    With the world watching the Olympics, I deciphered the clues in a picture from the 1908 Olympics.

    I revealed the winner of the Family Tree Magazine Photo Contest. That photo mystery now appears in my new book, The Family Photo Detective. It's now available in the store.

    Have you considered the relationship between photography and genealogy? I took a look at the types of records that help solve a picture mystery.

    This month was all about preservation. A badly damaged image encouraged me to talk about ways to save family pictures. There is more information on storage and labeling images in Preserving Your Family Photographs.

    A picture of a giant mechanical grasshopper appeared in my Photo Detective column in Family Tree Magazine, and some readers stepped forward to tell the story of their ancestors' fascination with creating these creatures.

    I shared the story of a woman who found a family picture after three decades and explained how old-time photographers could alter pictures long before the development of Photoshop.

    Have you ever posed for a multi-generation photo? It's not a new phenomena. Our ancestors did, too. Mary Lutz sent me several images of her family. It turned into a series on identifying who's who in a group picture.

    I love snapshots! They are spontaneous and often capture bits of everyday life. Follow this series on a picture of a man standing in his backyard.

    Thank you for reading this column and for submitting your family photos. If you'd like to participate, there is a link, "How to Submit Your Photo," in the left-hand margin. I can't wait to see your pictures!

    Happy New Year!

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1860s photos | 1870s photos | 1880s photos | 1890s photos | 1900-1910 photos | 1910s photos | 1920s photos | candid photos | cased images | children | Civil War | group photos | hairstyles | hats | holiday | house/building photos | photo backgrounds | preserving photos | props in photos |
    Monday, 31 December 2012 16:07:01 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 17 December 2012
    More on Backyard Snapshots
    Posted by Maureen


    Last week I focused on the details in the background of this backyard snapshot of Francis (Frank) Q. Donnelly. It's a great picture of a man taken in the first half of the 20th century. His relative, Dennis Rodgers, has a lot of information about him.

    Frank Donnelly (1879-1940) was born and died in Washington, DC. He was second generation on his father's side. His mother was born in Ireland.  Census records and his WW I draft registration pinpoint where he lived. He worked as a tinner and later as a steamfitter.

    Known addresses and time frames include:

    1900—486 E. Street SW
    1910—1008 F Street SE
    1918—1116 B Street NE (This is now Constitution Avenue)
    1920—721 3rd Street NE
    1930—721 3rd Street NE

    A quick search of Google Maps for the last address shows a lovely brick townhouse. Wonder if this image was taken in the rear of the building?

    His clothing suggests a time frame circa 1920:
    • a soft collar shirt with a small collar
    • a medium-width tie
    • a jacket with narrow lapels
    • trousers that narrow toward the ankle. (In the 1930s, pants legs were wider.)

    In 1920, a good worsted suit cost approximately $60 from the Sears Roebuck Catalog while a tie cost less than a dollar. For a fun look at men's neckwear, see Roseann Ettinger's 20th Century Neckties Pre-1955 (Schiffer, 1998).

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1920s photos | men
    Monday, 17 December 2012 18:32:48 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 20 August 2012
    Genealogy Fashions: Is Your Ancestor's Hat Back in Style?
    Posted by Maureen

    Fashion is looking back not merely to the 1970s, but all the way to the 1920s and even 1880s, at least as far as hats are concerned.

    Last Sunday's New York Times fashion supplement featured advertisements showing old-fashioned-looking hats by designers Louis Vuitton and Donna Karan. Even the Bloomingdale's ad featured a model in a vintage style hat.

    I can't show you the Louis Vuitton ad, but I can show you hats that resemble the ones worn by the models in the New York Times ads. It was a fashion spread for handbags, but the head wear looked liked these workmen's hats from the 1850s. I'm serious! Vuitton added a grosgrain band above the brim, but the shape is very similar.

    Donna Karan's ad is online. The hat on the woman in the video strongly resembles those worn in the 1880s. In fact, I featured a similar looking hat in Photo Contest Submissions: Shirley Jenks Jacobs submitted this photo of a woman in a rolled brimmed hat with trim and a high crown.

    Shirley Jenks Jacobs2.jpg

    One more blast from the past was the Bloomingdale's ad of a young model wearing a plush hat with a very wide brim and a plume of animal fur. It looked something like this image I own of a wedding from circa 1920.  Don't you love his hair? It helps date this image.


    So which hat style will you wear this season? I'll be looking through the photos in my Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats, 1840-1900 for more matches.

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Fashionable Folks: Bonnets and Hats 1840-1900
  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1850s photos | 1880s photos | 1920s photos | hairstyles | hats | | unusual photos
    Monday, 20 August 2012 15:55:13 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 05 December 2011
    Storytelling Pictures
    Posted by Maureen

    You never know what you're going to find in a family photo collection.  If you have an odd picture, please send it along. You can email it to me.

    Dario X. Musso sent me a lovely family photo:

    Seated on the right side is Nikita Radionov. Dario's grandmother is next to him. This photo of the Radionov family was taken circa 1919. 

    The curious part of Dario's family collection isn't this image, it's the series of photos taken of Nikita's funeral in 1929. He was dragged to death by a horse. 



    I've shown you two of the four images Dario submitted.  From the size of the crowds at this funeral, it appears that both family and townspeople attended this event. 

    Photos like this are an opportunity: I'd scan the faces to find other relatives. It might end up being the only known image of a particular person.
    1. Start with the front row and the pallbearers. Those individuals are likely family members or close friends.

    2. Compare the faces in the family group portrait with the individuals at the funeral. 
    If you had relatives living near the Radionov family in Russia, then you might find your family represented as well. I'll double-check the location with Dario and publish that next week. 

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1910s photos | 1920s photos | group photos | mourning photos
    Monday, 05 December 2011 16:45:32 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 07 November 2011
    Is this Painted Woods, North Dakota?
    Posted by Maureen

    Photographs and history go hand in hand. Take this photo for instance. It likely represents a bit of North Dakota history.

    PaintedWoodsNorthDakota (2).JPG

    Richard Levine's cousin Sally sent him this photo. Her mother had given it to her. The mother always thought it depicted a group at the Painted Woods settlement in North Dakota. 

    Levine's Jewish ancestors (Joseph and Anna Confeld) immigrated in 1885 from Kishinev, Bessarabia (now Moldova or Romania), which was a Russian territory. His grandmother Rose was born in North Dakota near Bismarck and lived in Painted Woods.  The harsh living conditions led many settlers to move elsewhere. In fact, Richard's family ended up in Minneapolis, Minn. 

    The big question in the family is about this photo. Does it depict a gathering at Painted Woods? And when was it taken?

    Richard reached out to the Jewish community through the JewishGen website and posted the photo there.

    The scalloped edge of this snapshot, as well as its size and format, identify this as a copy of an earlier picture. It was definitely photographed in the first half of the 20th century. In the lower left-hand corner you can see that the original photo had a tear.

    Let's look at the clothing clues.

    Richard thought it might be from the 1880s, but look closely at the women's dress sleeves.


    The shape and style of the sleeve dates this photo to circa 1900.  The children's play clothes are also consistent with this date.

    I'll be back next week with another installment of this story.

    Solve your family photo mysteries with these books by Maureen A. Taylor:

  • Preserving Your Family Photographs
  • Fashionable Folks: Hairstyles 1840-1900
  • Finding the Civil War in Your Family Album

  • 1920s photos | group photos | Jewish
    Monday, 07 November 2011 15:17:24 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 01 November 2010
    From My Mailbag
    Posted by Maureen

    Not everyone has owns a scanner or has access to one, so in the "How to Submit" link to the left, there are instructions on how to send me copies (not originals) of your mystery pictures.

    Every so often I receive a package containing photos from the editors at Family Tree Magazine. This week, instead of digging into my e-mail backlog, I thought ... let's check out the real mailbag. 

    There was a problem. I'll show you two pictures in a minute, but first a gentle reminder. Please send me updated contact information when you move. I'm not sure what happened to the folks in my mailbag. All five of them no longer have active telephone numbers and don't appear to be living at the same address. My last attempt to contact them will be via their e-mail addresses. I'm not confident that those will work either. Sooo, if you know Mary Leal, formerly of Houston, or Christine Regan, formerly of Cincinnati, please let them know I posted their pictures here.

    Mary Leal sent in this lovely photo of a young woman. Mary inherited a box full of unidentified photos from her mother. She has no idea who this is, but believes she once lived in the South Texas area because Mary's mother was from the Brownsville area.

    Mary wanted to know why someone would cut this image. It's probably because it was once in one of those oval frames suitable for wall hanging or setting on a bureau.

    The wide collar with pointed ends and the dress with the double row of buttons is in the style worn circa World War I, about 1915.

    There's a long story associated with the picture Christine Regan sent in. She wasn't sure who was in this image, but hoped it depicts Louisa Whitford Hannay (1847-1897). Unfortunately, it's more likely Eva Grace Hannay Mitchell (born 1890). Just about everyone in Christine's family is gone and she's left with a pile of mystery images. It's a shame that no one in the family ever passed on the identity of these two young women. Eva lived until 1982!

    As a young child, Eva's mother, Louisa gave her to an aunt to raise. Louisa had tuberculosis and couldn't care for her child. Instead, Alvilla Whitford Stanford (1848-1908) raised Eva, but according to family lore, the two never really bonded.

    Could one of these women be Eva? Christine really wanted one of the women to be Louisa, but the clothing style with the short skirts, combined with their young ages, rules out a woman born in 1847. Both wear calf-length summer dresses with tiered skirts and ruffled bodices. Their pointy shoes, dresses and short hair all suggest a date in the late 1910s to early 1920s. Eva would have been 30 in 1920. If she's in this photo, then she's a young-looking woman, but perhaps there is another answer.

    The identical dresses suggest an occasion or a relationship. I think the two girls look a bit alike. Similar mouths, and same-shaped face. Perhaps they're sisters. One of Louisa's daughters, Maude Hannay Sollitt (died in 1936) had three daughters born in 1898, 1902 and 1908. As for the occasion, that's still a mystery.  

    Our webinar download, Photo Retouching: How to Bring Old Family Pictures Back to Life, shows you on how to fix tears, spots and rips in your family photos using low-cost or free photo-editing software. The webinar download is available from

    1910s photos | 1920s photos | women
    Monday, 01 November 2010 16:15:09 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Tuesday, 07 September 2010
    Summertime Farewell
    Posted by Maureen

    I don't know about you, but I'm having a difficult time saying good-bye to summer. This weekend I took a short field trip to historic Concord, Mass., and ended up in an antique shop. I couldn't resist the piles of unidentified photos. Picked up some of fantastic hairstyles and hats, but also these two beach scenes:

    In case you guessed...this wasn't taken in the United States. According to the postcard publishing information on the back, it was taken in Rugen, Germany. This lovely multi-generational family went to the beach. I love the beach hut that shades the two older women and the little girl. Mom and Dad sat in the sand. Can you imagine dressing for the beach in a full suit and dress shoes? The image was taken by A. Haase, circa 1910. Haase may have traveled up and down the beach taking pictures of folks on vacation.

    If you want to learn more about this seaside resort, there is a website, but it's in German.

    The other image I bought is a snapshot. It's clear from the woman's pose and expression that she is having a good time at the shore. I have no idea where it was taken.

    It's a great shot of a young woman in a late 1920s bathing costume. She's the epitome of the late 20s, from the wrap on her head to her glasses and the belted waist.  The 1920s saw the evolution of women's swimsuits from blousy, long skirted suits to form-fitting tanks.

    You'll find advice for creating, sharing and saving your family's photographs in the Family Photo Essentials CD, from the editors of Family Tree Magazine and Memory Makers magazine.

    1910s photos | 1920s photos | women
    Tuesday, 07 September 2010 16:21:38 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [4]
    # Monday, 15 February 2010
    Friends and Neighbors
    Posted by Maureen

    A couple of weeks ago, I presented several lectures at the San Luis Obispo Genealogical Society conference.  I had great time and got to look at some interesting pictures. Roma Miller showed me this snapshot.


    This was in Roma's box of photos from her step-grandfather's family mixed in with other family photos. On the back it says, "Caroline 1927." But who's Caroline and where was it taken?

    Look carefully at this image. See the shadow of the photographer at the bottom? It's a great shot of someone taking a picture of this woman. his or her arms are raised, holding the camera. 

    Next look to the right of Caroline—there is a child. This little kid wears overalls and has his head bowed down. The short pants signify a boy, as does the haircut. This "baby cut" was similar to what we'd call a bowl cut—ear-length on the sides and bangs.

    Caroline wears a simple daytime dress. She's probably busy taking care of the her child and the housework. The style of this dress makes me wonder if she could be pregnant. It's very loose-fitting. Her hair is one of the short cuts popular in the 1920s. I think it looks a lot like either something called the "Senorita" or the "Broadway."

    The house is a two-story dwelling with a bow window in the style of the late 19th century. It's a Victorian-style house with a tall picket fence in the front and a wrought iron gate. In the background, a latticework wall surrounds a doorway with stairs.

    Roma and I talked about ways to identify this woman.
    • Ask the owner: The child is about the right age to be her step-grandfather—could this be him and his mother? Nope. He doesn't recognize the woman.
    • Post it online: I'm helping out by featuring it in this column. Roma has also uploaded the picture to 
    • Contact extended family: Roma sent out a mass e-mail to all her relatives. Success!
    A cousin identified the woman and the location. It was a neighbor of Roma's maternal great-aunt when they lived in Oakdale, Calif. A quick check of the 1930 federal census should result in a last name (as long as Caroline remained in the area). Roma may never know who took this picture, but it could be someone related to her great-aunt.

    On the surface it's such a simple portrait of a young mother, but when you add in the child, the house and the photographer, it's the beginning of a story and evidence of a friendship between neighbors.

    There is one other reason I love this picture. It's a perfect example of how family collections of photos contain more than just blood relatives. There are usually friends and neighbors mixed in as well.

    1920s photos | children | house/building photos | women
    Monday, 15 February 2010 16:03:53 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 18 January 2010
    Head Toppers
    Posted by Maureen

    As you know I love hairstyles, but I'm also a hat person. No, I don't wear one, but I wish I did.  Given this fascination with brimmed accessories, is it any wonder I couldn't pass up Bro. Joseph F. Martin's challenge?

    This photo depicts his great-grandparents Nicholas and Marcyanna Kaptur in front of their home in Detroit. Standing next to them are their daughters Emily and Constance.


    It's a wonderful snapshot.  Bro. Martin would like to know when the picture was taken but can't identify the hats.

    I've spent the morning studying their hats. From left to right, there's a wonderful array of chapeaus. Dating and identifying a hat relies on a few things such as size and shape of the crown, size and shape of the brim, decorations (if any) and then the other details in the picture.  The final bit is important because very often, historic hat styles return to current fashion. If you don't look at the context of the hat you could have the wrong decade or even century.  

    Great-grandmother Maryanna has a fascinating hat with a narrow brim and puffy mushroom looking crown. Her warm-weather straw hat is accented by a wide ribbon. Her husband wears a soft felt hat with a boxy crown and a wide brim. Next to him is one of their daughters, looking quite fashionable in a soft brimmed cloche hat. Her sister wears a smaller hat with what looks like a folded-back brim. 

    Maryanna's dress with its drop waist and sailor-style collar is much older than the photo; I think from circa 1920. Older folks in photos tend to wear older styles rather than the current trends, but there are exceptions. The daughter standing second from left wears a lovely summer dress with narrow sleeves topped with full caps, and belted at the natural waist. It's the most fashionable outfit in the photo, stylish around 1925-1929.  Her sister wears a drop-waist dress from about 1925.

    In this case, the dress styles and dates vary, but it appears that everyone's hat is contemporary to the late 1920s. The family is in the 1930 federal census as Nicholas, 68; Mary, 67; Constance, 26; Joseph, 26; and Emily, 23.  So where's Joseph in this snapshot? I don't have proof, but he's probably the one behind the camera.

    1920s photos | group photos
    Monday, 18 January 2010 16:53:00 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Monday, 14 September 2009
    One More Time: Funny Pictures
    Posted by Maureen

    I have another album of funny pictures to share with you. This time, there's even an entry from faraway Chile. Thanks to the Web, this column has readers around the globe.

    Cook6 Jul 1913 Mt  Washington 001.jpg
    Laura Cook sent me several images of her grandmother Marie Schultheis clowning with friends in the summer of 1913. This is my favorite (above). I love the pained expression of the guy on the bottom.

    caponeLadies with dresses pulled up (2).jpg

    Barbara Capone sent in a family mystery. It was taken in Scotland County, Mo., at what she thinks was Minnie and Joseph Cook Walker's house, but she has no idea who these people are. The Walkers were her Capone's grandparents.

    PeelEarlMarionNeil (3).jpg

    Here's a fun snapshot of Faith Peel's father, aunt and uncle. She doesn't know the names of the rest of the folks.

    sebaskyunidmen275 (4).jpg

    Marlys Sebasky thought this picture and the next one looked very similar to the original posting of the card players in Fergus Falls, Minn. What do you think?


    Gonzalo A. Luengo O. of Chile sent the image below. It's a postcard sent from Sestri Ponente (near Genoa, Italy) to Luengo's great-great-grandfather Antonio De Filippi Montaldo. It's a bit of a mystery. The banner reads "Premio Beneficenza, 28 febbraio 1903" which translates to "Charity Prize, February 28, 1903."  Does anyone have any information on the tradition shown? E-mail me if you do.
    GonzalesANTONIO DE FILIPPI 1.jpg

    1920s photos | 1930s photos | candid photos | group photos | Photo fun | photo postcards
    Monday, 14 September 2009 16:16:12 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Tuesday, 10 February 2009
    Pets in the Family on YouTube
    Posted by Maureen

    It's not hard to believe that the three installments of this blog on ancestors' adorable pets were among the most read. After all, it's family history from a different perspective—pets in the family. Since this week is the Westminster Dog Show, I thought I'd try a different presentation method for the photos.

    I've received a few more pictures for this album, but instead of posting them individually, I incorporated them into a video.

    I'm going to tweak it some more and see if I can boost the quality. I produced it in high definition but uploading it to YouTube compressed the files resulting in some blurring.

    Just in case you missed the series: 

    Pets in Pictures

    An Album of Ancestors' Family Pets

    Pet Photos: Our Ancestors Loved Their Dogs, Too!

    I'd like to thank everyone who sent in pictures! 

    (For more genealogy videos, see the Family Tree Magazine YouTube channel.)

    BTW—I have a new e-newsletter that lists my speaking schedule,and contains a link to the Photo Detective video podcast. It's absolutely free. Sign up is on my Web site.

    1870s photos | 1880s photos | 1890s photos | 1900-1910 photos | 1910s photos | 1920s photos | candid photos | children | men | Pets | Videos | women
    Tuesday, 10 February 2009 14:13:17 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 02 February 2009
    Summer in the Family Album
    Posted by Maureen

    I live in New England. Winter started early this year and with more snow on the way, it isn't leaving anytime soon. It's one for the record books. 

    The lack of a January thaw has me daydreaming of summer—sunshine filled days and the beach. Obviously, I'm not alone. Derek Sundberg of Essex, in the United Kingdom, sent me this photo. It's part of a series of 14 snapshots that all depict the same people.

    20210young emily 3rd pic.jpg

    The woman in the belted bathing suit on the right is his mother, Emily May. (I'm withholding her last name for privacy purposes.) Derek believes that one of the group members is the photographer. So who are the six other people shown above? He has no idea.

    It's a lovely group snapshot taken at the beach in the late 1920s to about 1930. The girls' bobbed cuts and shapeless bathing suits confirm the time frame. I love the canvas bathing pavilions that surround them. 

    In this picture, Emily (b. 1905) would be in her 20s, but I think some of the women look like younger teenagers. Derek wrote that his mother spent her entire life in Thurrock, Essex, and that she once worked at Thames Board Mills, in Purfleet, Essex. It's possible these folks are her friends from work, friends from town or a couple of younger relatives.

    It's an identification mystery. Here are some suggestions:
    • I'd start by showing the images to relatives to see if anyone recognizes the man and the women. I'd also ask if anyone remembers his mother's friends from her job. Another relative might have other pictures of this group. The unknown photographer likely would''ve taken other pictures that summer.
    • Next, I'd compare their faces to other images in family albums. If these individuals were Emily's friends or family, they'll appear in other pictures.
    If anyone recognizes these young people, send me an email and I'll forward it to Derek. I'm going to link this to my FaceBook page because it's possible one of my FB friends from overseas will know these folks.

    Guess what? Next week I'll be back with more ancestral pet photos. I've found a way to show them all at once. Let's hope it works.

    1920s photos | hairstyles | women
    Monday, 02 February 2009 15:23:13 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [2]
    # Monday, 10 November 2008
    A Reunion for the One-Gloved Mystery
    Posted by Maureen

    Here's a bit of proof that you should not only read the comments for each blog column but add one yourself. Imagine my surprise when Denise Damm commented on the one-glove mystery. (This makes the fourth post on this one photo!) 

    Denise wrote "I am quite sure that the two men in the back are Samuel Wingfield (born in 1895) and his brother William Garretsmoke Wingfield (born in 1897)." She's speaking of the two men standing in the back of this photo:

    According to Denise, the two men were cousins to the Melson boys Joel and Elmore. The Melsons' grandmother was the sister of Sam and Garret's grandfather. I'm so happy to have a reunion to feature in this spot!

    Denise sent pictures of Sam and Garrett for me to share with you. Take a look and see what you think. Here's a picture of William taken in 1921:Sam Wingfield 1921 001.jpg

    And here's a picture of Sam:
    Wingfield 001edit.jpg

    There is some confusion in the labeling of the first image. It says "Sam and William." Diane thinks it's William. 

    Both men were born in Arkansas and later moved to California. I'm going to facilitate a reunion between the women. Denise really wants to talk with her long lost cousin Sue Stevenson. Wish I could be present when they start exchanging pictures and stories.

    1920s photos | men
    Monday, 10 November 2008 18:49:24 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [1]
    # Tuesday, 22 January 2008
    Backgrounds in Old Photos
    Posted by Maureen

    In mid-December, I asked readers to submit photos with interesting backgrounds. Thank you for images.

    I'm conducting an informal study of the different types of backgrounds in photos—it's a vastly understudied area of photo history. Here's an overview:

    In the 1840s and 1850s daguerreotypists really didn't use backgrounds. Their focus was capturing a likeness of a person, not making the pictures look like they were taken outdoors.

    In the 1860s, suddenly you start seeing the wall behind the sitter. You can see the blank wall and the moulding at the base. At some point in the late 1850s photographers began offering handpainted copies of images with gorgeous backgrounds painted in. Many of you probably have these and wonder if they're photographs or paintings. They're actually both.

    In the late 19th century, photographers began paying artists to create backdrops. You've seen some of them in past columns. The backdrop and the architectural elements create a stage setting for the portrait. In photos taken at tourist resorts, you're likely to see seaside scenes.  In next few weeks I'll share some interesting backgrounds I've purchased as examples.

    One of the photographs I received was from Alissa Booth. These three boys were born in the period from 1911 to 1915. Notice the delicately painted backdrop. It's professionally done and creates a nature scene so the boys look like they posed outdoors.

    Keep sending me the interesting backgrounds

    1910s photos | 1920s photos | children | group photos | photo backgrounds
    Tuesday, 22 January 2008 16:11:07 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Monday, 05 November 2007
    The Plane Truth Revisited
    Posted by Maureen

    Last year I wrote about Jacqui Marcella's photo of two couples standing in front of an airplane in The Plane Truth. I'm revisiting a few of my older columns to see if I can discover anything new about those pictures. When I looked at this 1920s image I thought, "Why not?"  Imagine my surprise when a closer look at some of the details revealed that this simple family picture was a historically significant photo!

    The couple on the left are Jacqui Marcella's grandparents, Arthur and Theresa Henschel, but the couple on the right are a mystery. I initially assigned a timeframe of 1926 to 1930, but this "fresh look" narrowed that even further. Take a close look at the T to the right of the second couple. It holds the key to this image.

    I searched some of the links I recommended in the original article, and found an exact match! The T is part of the name of the plane, the Smiling Thru. If you look closely, you can see part of a G behind the man on the right. Compare this photo to the photo I found on the Wichita Photo Archives site—the plane's name in that picture is the same font as the T in Jacqui's picture.

    The Smiling Thru was the first corporate aircraft in America, owned by the Automatic Washer Company. The name came from the company slogan, "Buy an automatic washer on Monday and you will be smiling through the rest of the week." 

    For company president H.L. Ogg, it was a corporate office in the sky with dictaphone, telephone and lavatory. His secretary typed letters while they flew around the country. Strip out the office equipment and the company could use it to deliver washing machines.

    The Automatic Washer Company bought this plane from Travel Air in 1929,  then sold it in 1934. Based on the clothing here and the aircraft's history, Jacqui's grandparents probably posed for this portrait in about 1929. The history of the plane also suggests the other couple might be associated with the Automatic Washer Company. I know the man isn't Ogg, but perhaps its another representative.

    Jacqui thought of this  portrait as a family picture, but its actually a piece of American history, since very few pictures of the Smiling Thru still exist. You can read more about it in an article in the Newton (Iowa) Daily News.

    By the way, Jacqui, please send me your new email address. I was unable to contact you to provide this update on your photo.

    1920s photos | group photos | men | photo backgrounds | women
    Monday, 05 November 2007 14:51:49 (GMT Standard Time, UTC+00:00)  #  Comments [0]
    # Tuesday, 04 September 2007
    Photos of Summer
    Posted by Maureen

    Two weeks ago I asked readers to submit their summer photos. I received a wide variety of mystery photos and one that fit my request. Sandi Gill e-mailed this lovely photo of a group of children, one of whom is her mother.

    Even though Gill doesn't know the names of the other children or where this photo was taken, she thought it made a good example for my Labor Day summer album. She's right. All the children wear the bobbed hair of the 1920s and light summer garments. Her mom is one of the smaller children, being only around kindergarten age.

    Gill knows the family lived in Bayside, NY, but isn't sure if this photo was taken in her mother's backyard or elsewhere in the neighborhood. The large lilac hedge is a clue worth researching in other family photos or those of her mother's childhood friends. 

    It's definitely a summertime shot, with the lilacs long past their bloom.

    Thank you, Sandi, for sharing your picture!

    1920s photos | children | group photos
    Tuesday, 04 September 2007 00:50:39 (GMT Daylight Time, UTC+01:00)  #  Comments [0]